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‘Weedpass’ to take effect nationwide in Netherlands in 2013

If you’ve visited the Netherlands, you’re aware of the famous Dutch ‘coffeeshops’ where they do sell coffee, but they also sell marijuana in small amounts for personal use (the max they can sell you at one time is 5 grams.)

Starting in 2013, the privilege of entering the coffeeshops and partaking of the wares offered therein will be the exclusive province of Dutch citizens and legal residents.  So if you visited and enjoyed these coffeeshops and had hoped to one day do it again, the clock is ticking – you might want to go sooner rather than later.  Already, the border provinces of the Netherlands have instituted the system, called the ‘Wietpas,’ or in English, ‘Weedpass.’

You might be wondering why this is all happening, and I’ve done some research and thinking on the subject.  Here’s what seems to be going on.

First, comes the issue of ‘drug tourism.’  If you are an American and reading this, you probably aren’t thinking of the same ‘drug tourism’ as the Dutch, Belgians or Germans are thinking of.  For an American to visit the famous coffeeshops, basically means taking a trip to Amsterdam, and it is not cheap.  An American needs to come up with at least a thousand dollars for an excursion to Amsterdam, and in most cases much more than that.  But the Netherlands borders Belgium and Germany and in a more limited sense, England and France, and for these folks to visit the Netherlands, especially the Germans and Belgians, requires little more than a tank of gas.

There are two groups of victims here – one group of actual victims and another group of imaginary victims.  Let’s start with the first group of victims.

These victims are the Dutch who live in the towns bordering Belgium and Germany.  These Dutch people are more conservative (socially) than the Amsterdammers and they only get more conservative as a few weekends a month, Belgians and Germans come into their towns and ransack them, acquiring and using as much weed as they can while they are there and then carting the rest back home to last until the next trip over the border.  The Dutch are remarkably tolerant people, but at some point, even the most tolerant person will throw up their hands and say, “Enough is enough!”

The second class of ‘victims’ is the imaginary ones.  It’s necessary at this point to take a step back and compare the marijuana situation to prostitution (another area where the remarkably tolerant Dutch have been pulling back a bit lately.)  Outside of legalization, there are two ways legal systems deal with prostitution.  One way is to arrest prostitutes, treating them as criminals, and the other way is to go after pimps and johns, treating them as victimizers.  Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this.  The latter method is generally regarded as the more enlightened one.  Arresting prostitutes, the alleged victims in sex trafficking, only ruins their lives and does nothing to deal with the problem of demand for their services.

Outside of decriminalization of both the cultivation/distribution side and the consumption side of drugs, there are generally two approaches to prosecuting drug crime:  arrest the users, or go after the cultivators and dealers.  The logic is the same as in prostitution, really, only as a mirror image.  The users are the victims, so why arrest them and ruin their lives, when you can go after the victimizers, the cultivators and distributors of the substance?

Which leads to the point.  Belgium and Germany have both to a considerable extent decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, but the cultivation and distribution of marijuana remains a crime.  If a drug user is a victim, and a drug dealer is a victimizer, and you live right next door to a drug dealer, then who is the victimizer?  That’s right, your neighbor.

Faced with this situation, the remarkably tolerant Dutch, who correctly see that in marijuana-related matters nobody is really a victim, have two choices:  keep their remarkably tolerant attitude for themselves, or bow to international political pressure and give it up entirely.  Belgium and Germany would do well to realize that the primary victimizer in marijuana matters is the state and its legal policy of prohibition and open up their own coffeeshops.

The Dutch are very pragmatic, nonetheless.  It is entirely possible that this move to restrict access to the coffeeshops will lead to an increase in black market drug activity precisely of the sort that the original policy of decriminalization and tolerance was designed to avert.  If that happens, it is not unthinkable that they will declare the weedpass idea a failure, and go back to the way things were.  Time will tell.

Unhinged Reno Park Authority Gets Filmed

Quite honestly, I don’t even know what to say about this. Something about removing a fly from a friend’s nose with a hatchet, or to that effect.

While I am perfectly okay and with the guy getting pissed off about some kids making his job harder, spending tax dollars to fix the park, but can we say “public relations?”

In today’s world, Big Brother is actually, and most likely, someone’s little brother, with an iPhone or some other kind of recording device, catching people in what should be considered embarrassing acts. Would the City of Reno or Washoe County be particularly thrilled to hear this guy talking like this to the kids of taxpayers? Lack of identification aside, even if he were an authority with a badge, should he be engaging people like this? Most notably, saying Reno is a shit hole meanwhile trying to instill a sense of fear and morality of local youth, even more while supposed to be doing a job for the City of Reno.   Interesting approach.

Especially since the kids were of the general opinion, “Okay, we’ll leave—-sorry…”  None of the youth were being jerks, well, unless you ask the trees and landscaping.  And this guy.

I’ll let the rest of you decide. It’s funny in one way, disturbing in others, and filled with not-safe-for-work audio content.

QRA saves the day.